Whether your enterprise is ready or not, the Internet of Things is well underway. With so many new devices adding to the ranks of the IoT, your organization needs to figure out how you want to use the Internet of Things to its advantage. We’ve put together six considerations for the Internet of Things that your enterprise can’t ignore.

The Internet of Things Will Be Used for Data Gathering
If there is one thing that millions of connected devices do well, it’s gather data. The Internet of Things is an invaluable opportunity for data gathering with a variety of purposes in mind. Perhaps enterprises want to see just how their products are being used by consumers, or maybe they want to look for trends that will help them more effectively market their devices in the future.

Furthermore, according to TechTarget, this data gathering can further be augmented through the use of artificial intelligence programs which can analyze and interpret data coming from IoT devices. With so much data coming from these devices, without some sort of automation in place, it will be practically impossible to analyze it all. Plus, IBM has made it clear that the opportunity for intelligent machine learning (natural language processing, machine learning, video and text, etc) will likely play a big part in the IoT’s development in 2017, allowing for enterprise AI applications to adapt to industry trends.

Consider the Role of IoT Devices in Your Infrastructure
How will your enterprise leverage Internet of Things devices to its advantage? Some organizations might be content with just allowing their employees to enrich their work experience with IoT devices, but others will want a more deliberate approach; one which emphasizes enterprise connectivity for specific workflow roles. Identify where your enterprise can improve and try to use IoT technology to make it happen.

Forrester suggests particular ways in which enterprises can use IoT technology, predicting that vendors will begin to offer all sorts of services that allow enterprises to take advantage of the IoT. It’s also likely that businesses will seek certification for the implementation of IoT-related connectivity protocol, which means that it could potentially be a valuable and highly sought-after asset.

Enterprises Need to Adapt to Major Changes in Number of Endpoints
One of the biggest problems with the Internet of Things is just how many “things” are involved. All of the connected devices take advantage of connectivity technology to communicate and share information with one-another. The problem here is that they might be able to access information that you don’t want to share with other devices. Unfortunately, dealing with more endpoints is inevitable for an enterprise, as the average employee likely has, at a minimum, at least a couple of connected devices (smartphone, laptop, and perhaps others).

By the end of 2015, Gartner predicted that over 6.4 billion Internet of Things devices would be in use, so you can only imagine just how many will be in use throughout 2017. Enterprises need to prepare for this influx if they want to ensure success. Implementing a dashboard solution which allows you to control access to important information is a surefire necessity to handle this evolving landscape.

Consider the Security Problems Associated with IoT
With so many new endpoints, one of the natural questions you have to consider is how you’re going to secure all of them. The fact that you don’t necessarily control every single one of them is also problematic, but there are ways to get around this. One of them is only allowing devices which have been cleared through your IT department to access your wireless network, while another involves educating your employees on the dangers of the Internet of Things.

One recent example of the dangers of infected Internet of Things devices is the massive DDoS attack which brought down Dyn, one of the most notable DNS providers in the United States. By overloading Dyn with an exorbitant amount of traffic, the attackers effectively brought down access to several noteworthy services, including Twitter, Netflix, and Reddit. This presents the question, “How will you protect your business from DDoS attacks caused by Internet of Things devices?”

Enterprise Networks will Become More Complex
When more devices are added to your infrastructure, it becomes much more complex, making it more difficult to keep track of the flow of data, user access, and security protocol. You also need to worry about resource management and delegation, as a network that is stretched too thin can become a major hindrance.

In turn, the enterprise needs to adapt to its growing needs by seeking a way to control and keep track of the various devices accessing its infrastructure. You need to ensure that employees are adhering to protocol instated regarding IoT devices, but this isn’t enough. You need to monitor and maintain your network so that you’ll know if IoT devices are becoming a problem for data security.

How Will You Budget for the Internet of Things?
As is the case when implementing any new technology for your enterprise, the question of how it all fits in your IT budget will become a major talking point. In cases like this, we recommend outsourcing as much of the responsibility as possible. This accomplishes two crucial goals: 1) Your IT department has more time to focus on operations, and 2) The responsibility for managing the IoT device connectivity for your network is managed by someone else entirely.

Another major challenge comes in the form of convincing management and the C-Suite of the value presented by the Internet of Things, but just showing them some of the possibilities might be enough to persuade them. How does your business want to use the Internet of Things in 2017? Let us know in the comments.